Live esports isn’t going anywhere.
Twitch, the leading site for livestreaming gameplay video, announced today that it has extended its partnership with the ESL esports organization. Fans of Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and League of Legends can expect to keep seeing ESL’s events for those games broadcasting on Twitch throughout 2016. In 2015, the ESL One Cologne event for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive set a record on Twitch with 1.3 million people all watching at the same time. That contributes to making Twitch the go-to spot on the Web for a competitive gaming market that is on pace to reach $1.1 billion in spending by 2019. It also helps ESL stay relative with gamers, which in turn helps it earn sponsorship deals.
Twitch has a growing audience of more than 100 million people. That gives ESL a built-in viewership. But many of those 100 million people only show up for pro-gaming events, and Twitch needs ESL to have enough content to feed that demanding consumer.
This partnership renewal comes after a half decade of Twitch and ESL working together. Thee two companies have exploded in popularity alongside one another, and they both acknowledge that it is a symbiotic relationship.
In a canned statement, ESL chief executive Ralf Reichert said that Twitch has the “largest live audience of esports fans.” And no other competitors really come close in that category. YouTube may have more viewers and content overall, but most of that is for prerecorded video. And ESL specializes in live programming.
In a separate canned comment, Twitch chief operating officer Kevin Lin said that he expects the Twitch community to continue embracing ESL events. The esports company’s viewership numbers set new milestones every year, and he suggested that trend will continue.
Twitch and ESL are kicking off the rest of their 2016 with the 2016 Intel Extreme Masters World Championship in Katowice, Poland today. This multichannel broadcast features events for Counter-Strike, League of Legend, StarCraft 2, and more.